Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) | Bières de Chimay

BA SCORE
95
world-class
7,782 Ratings
Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue)Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Bières de Chimay
Belgium
chimay.be

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Originally brewed as a Christmas beer in 1948, this dark ale has rich flavors of mulling spices and caramel, with a smooth palate and warming finish.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-22-2001

BEER STATS
Ratings:
7,782
Reviews:
2,368
Avg:
4.28
pDev:
10.51%
 
 
Wants:
527
Gots:
1,933
For Trade:
17
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 7,782 |  Reviews: 2,368
Photo of CyR
4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown

S: Spices, taste typical Belgian beer, a little pepper and bitter chocolate

T: Well spicy, syrupy, chocolate

M: An aftertaste that reminds a bit of Porto

D: Fairly easy to drink despite alcohol

---

A beer tasting, which matures in fine style in the cellar where it is reminiscent of good Madeira wine. A standard

 338 characters

Photo of phisigben
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I served this in my Chimay goblet

Look - This pour a cloudy dark amber/brown, there is a very nice white fluffy head that dissipates to a little ring of head.

Smell - I get apples, Belgium yeast, dark fruits, caramel, and a spice that I cant put my finger on

Taste - I get more dark fruits than apple on the first sip, the Belgium yeast is very good, I really don't taste any caramel that I got in the nose. The spice is certainly more balanced to the sweetness on the palate than it was in the nose.

Mouthfeel - This beer coats the mouth very well, medium carbonation, and the 9% alc is hard to pick up if I drank this without knowing the alc % I would have said 6-7%.

Drinakability - Great drinkability sweet to spice ratio is very well balanced, the alc is hardly noticeable, and I paid $9.99 for a 750ml bottle.

 823 characters

Photo of nickthetick
3.94/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours a clouded brown into a chimay chalice with a finger of tan head that hangs around for the drinking experience. Not a whole lot of lacing left on the glass.

S: dark roasted malt translates into a dark roast coffee aroma. A little hop presence in the form of a blood orange or dark citrus.

T: coffee hints with a tad of anise. Toasty malts like a sweet overcooked biscuit. The hops are there but not a huge part of the profile. Dried dark pitted fruits are left hanging on the tongue.

MF: a nice middle of the row belgian, medium body wit just enough effervescence and not to astringent.

D: love this beer and if I can get it with a free glass I'll never pass it up but I would defiantly pick up a bomber of this if I saw it in a heart beat.

 756 characters

Photo of Monkey962
4.53/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the 11.2 oz bottle into a small goblet-as close as I can get to a Chimay goblet!

Appearance: A particularly attractive shade of amber red and brown. It yields a rather small head with delicate lacing.

Aroma: The aforementioned small head gives off an aroma of coffee and caramel.

Taste: The caramel scent carries over along with some sweet chocolate notes and some spiciness. Unfortunately for any hopheads, this beer is not that bitter. I noticed the day after that the beer gave me a spicy, almost oniony aftertaste.

Feel: The feel is very smooth, and the high amount of alcohol creates a very refreshing finish.

Drinkability: Very easy to drink, in spite of the high alcohol content, which is hidden well by the complex, sweet and spicy flavors. The only downside is the price, nearly $5 for such a tiny bottle!

 832 characters

Photo of mjn5036
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml corked and caged poured into a snifter. Chimay Blue pours earth-brown with red highlights. It looks like a caramel covered red delicious apple. A pleasant, fairly large, nearly white head arises and subsides with haste. Carbonation races to the top long after the beer has been poured.

This one smells like dark sweet fruits, Belgian sugars and yeasts. Apple, grapes and raisons come to mind. A spicy profile lingers in the background.

Taste is reminiscent of the nose as far as the dark fruits are concerned; however the taste is less sweet than the nose would lead you to believe. Undertones of spice are quite nice and become more noticeable as it warms.

Drinkability is very high and the alcohol is really only noticed in the warming effect. Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth; medium bodied and has a somewhat dry finish.

 834 characters

Photo of liamt07
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from the LCBO giftpack. 330ml served in my Chimay chalice.

Poured a dark brown/mahogany with a few fingers of creamy, light tan head. Tons of suspended yeast in this one. Great head retention. Nose is quite "soft and subtle" with some dark fruits, plums, light raisin and grape skins. Alot of the notes arise from the yeast as well. Taste is sweet and warming, with a slight acidity; in most respects similar to the nose in terms of the fruits. Relatively high carbonation, but the mouthfeel just hits the nail on the head for me. Smooth and sweet with a bit of stickiness. Drinkability is ideal given the ABV. Great stuff. 45/4/45/45/5

Re-reviewed November 13, 2011: part of the QuadShowdown, 2006 vintage. Nose of overripe grapes, sweet brown sugars, lightly vinous and slightly funky notes. Taste is lightly spicy, plums, grapes, and dark fruits. Vanilla and brown sugar. Gentle carbonation, solid feel, fairly low carbonation. Creamy and fairly sweet. Very nice with age, just as grapey as I recall it being when young, Still some good flavours and great complexity.

 1,079 characters

Photo of rpardon7
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle a deep reddish brown with a thick tannish head that retained for sometime and left generous lacing on the glass. Smell is bready malt dark fruit raisins and plums with a slight earthy yeasty funk. Taste is bready sweet malt dark fruits with a spicy finish. Mouthfeel is sharp and tight but has such a phenomenal smoothness. Drinkability is wonderful, this is a great beer!

 395 characters

Photo of boudreaux
4.85/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from the 11.2 oz bottle into a chalice.

Poured a dark red/brown with a light tan head.Great lacing

Smells and tastes of dark fruits and malt. Slight spice and alchohol burn. Great!

Mouthfeel is nice, there's a slight thick creaminess due to the sediment and fluffy bubbles. Pretty much the best mouthfeel i've ever had

Drinkability is scary good, especially since the abv is 9%!
Serving type: bottle

 410 characters

Photo of GallowsThief
4.52/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of a bomber into my Duvel tulip.

A - Deep caramel brown pour with about a 3 inch creamy brown head. Head recded quickly and left almost no lacing whatsoever.

S - Sweet, malty smell. Had a very flowery aroma. Smells of dark fruits.

T - Very nice bready malt taste if the first thing. You get a nice fruit taste immediately after which reminds me of a green apple. Just a touch of tartness. You get just a bit of that boozy alcohol feel at the end that is very warming.

M - Lively mouthfeel with good carbonation. Medium bodied. Very smooth and creamy.

D - This is a fine sipping ale to be enjoyed slowly. I can see drinking this bad boy while sitting in a smoky club relaxing.

 695 characters

Photo of Zimbo
3.58/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2010

I really want to like this. No, actually, I really want to love this. But I can't. It sure pours an easy head with an appetising hazy brown chestnut colour but it struggles to retain that head for the duration of the drink.

Seems quite advanced for a 2010. Fairly thin and dilute and pretty carbonated. The taste is pretty one dimensional. Gives a sharpness which is not entirely developed. But structually this is just too soft and sweet for what it is supposed to be. And this beer doesn't have the stuffing to be for the long haul. Far too simple.

It's been well over twenty years now but please, please bring back the Brew House Copper and the open squares.

 671 characters

Photo of keithmurray
4.09/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

appearance - Dark mahogany color with khaki head

smell - cocoa, raisins, plums

taste - not quite as good as the smell, cherries in the finish, raisins, plums, grapes

mouthfeel - body is a bit light for the style, medium carbonation , no booziness to speak of

drinkability - this is a decent beverage

 303 characters

Photo of noel2977
4.08/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle I had cellared for a year... into an Ommegang chalice.

A - hazy, coppery, reddish tint. Opaque. Decent head that dissapates quickly. No lacing on the glass. Sediment noticeable in the bottle.

S - interesting... dank, earthy, with a hint of subdued dark fruit.

T - here's where it gets interesting. I wanted to see what a year in the cellar would do... First wave of belgian spices, slightly subdued. Flavors of apple and fig cascade into pear, and then another layer of spice. Sweet maltiness on the finish. Great character of fresh Chimay, but more 'mature'. Interesting - compleixtiy is maintained, but the alcohol burn isnt present.

M - Craemy, bubbly, yet not oily or mouthcoating.

D - 9% alcohol and such a complex bomb - one's enough.

 752 characters

Photo of crafbrewwhore
4.65/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Opened a 25 oz. bottle, from 2009.
Cellared.

Was alittle leary being it the first bottle I have cellared and opened. Put it in the fridge overnight to bring to temp. Once opened it was pure joy.

-It poured a nice dark brown/red tint.

- Taste for being aged was exceptional, def. had a bit more kick to it than usual. The alcohol didn't over power the taste though which was nice.

My mom was even impressed and shes become a fan of Chimay over the years.

If this was how good my first aging experience went, I am very excited to try out the others that I have down there now.

 581 characters

Photo of phideltashaggy
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the 11.2 oz bottle into a standard pub glass.

Poured a dark red/brown with a light tan head. Decent lacing

Smells and tastes of dark fruits and malt. Slight spice and alchohol burn. Very nice.

Mouthfeel is nice, there's a slight thick creaminess due to the sediment and fluffy bubbles. I would'nt drink more than one or two at a time.

 349 characters

Photo of orz
4.59/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured in a tulip glass.

A: Dark and cloudy. Head a bit irregular, stays for long.

S: The smell is incredible, sweet and complex.

T: I could feel dark chocolate, pepper and citrus. Alcohol nicely masked.

M: Lacks something - the taste is concentrated on the back of tongue.

D: Easy, however after a bottle you feel dizzy, so be careful ;-)

 345 characters

Photo of Fatheranderson
4.53/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a good solid entry into the Belgian Strong Ale style. It's spicy and smooth and slightly sweet but overall just amazingly complex and well done.

Appearance: Dark, rich, succulent. It looks like a mahogany wood finish when poured into a glass.

Smell: Complicated... layered... apple maybe? No not really. Stewed prunes mixed with a hint of apple and pear is the best I can describe it and even that doesn't really strike to the heart of the smell. It really just smells smooth.

Taste: Smooth, complex, deep, rich. There's just a tiny hint of alcohol, but overall it tastes almost exactly like it smells... and it's very hard to explain. There's definitely some plum in there now that I taste it again. Maybe plum, pear, and a hint of hickory wood would be a better description of what it tastes like. Add a hint of cocoa and just a little caramelized sugar and you've got a decent approximation of what it's like. There's a whole lot going on with this beer's taste at the same time, and it's really something you have to experience to completely understand. Also, the taste apparently evolves as the beer warms up, unlocking more levels of flavor like gentle hints of vanilla, maybe a little Irish creme?

Mouthfeel: just enough bite from the carbonation to keep it from feeling flat without being overbearing.

Drinkability: it's a very complicated beer which, like any good brandy requires multiple tastings to truly experience all of it.

Overall: this beer is a rich, complex, delightful ale that evolves as it warms. It isn't boozy, but it isn't completely beer either. It's a very unique, well balance ale that requires an experienced beer connoisseur to completely appreciate.

 1,694 characters

Photo of BeanBone
4.08/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: A murky dark brown-orange body capped by two fingers of creamy off-white head that burn out quickly and leave little lacing. This is a noisy beer, from the loud pop as it opened to the fizzing head burning itself out.

Aroma: Lots of dark fruit and clove-like spice over brown sugary malt. It's understated, but elegant.

Flavor: On the palate, it's a mix of rum-soaked dark fruit, peppery spice, Belgian yeast over a nutty and brown sugary malt backbone. The alcohol is masked well, contributing just a hint of spice as it warms. Dark fruit and nuttiness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with spritzy carbonation and a sweetish finish. Not much sign of the alcohol in the mouth.

Drinkability: Easily quaffable, especially considering the high alcohol content. You could easily drink a 750ml bottle by yourself during and after a nice dinner.

Verdict: Chimay Grande Réserve is a beer that comes with a lot of expectations, and I'm happy to report it lives up to the hype nicely. It's solid fresh, but I think a few years of aging might bump this up a third of a grade.

 1,091 characters

Photo of DaveBlack
4.57/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Deep, rich, cloudy brown color, completely opaque. Maybe a finger's width of slightly off-white head that fades pretty quickly to a thin layer which covers most of the surface of the beer. There is almost no lacing to speak of.

S: Really great aroma. Smells deeply sweet with hints dark fruits. The yeast gives it a great bready aroma as well. Smells exactly like a good belgian should.

T: Tastes much like it smells: hits first with the malts and a sweet, grape-like flavor which gives way to the yeast, and finishes nice and (surprisingly) dry. This beer hides the 9% ABV very well, and is only evidenced by the slight warming sensation in the back of the throat. Well balanced, really tasty beer.

M: Medium bodied, relatively light on the carbonation. The carbonation that it does have are small bubbles, which are pleasantly tingly.

D: It has been a few years since I had this beer, in the time before I really started getting into Belgians, and it is much, much better than I remember. The flavor is neither too dry or too sweet, and the mouthfeel is light and pleasant. I was surprised by how good it is, and it is absolutely worth buying.

 1,152 characters

Photo of windypete
4.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had a 330ml bottle, not my first chimay blue & won't be my last either.

Poured into a chalic leffe glass, a nice dark brown like all trappist beers will with a small
light creamy coloured head.

Aroma was fruity & bready & very balanced.

Taste was at first bready followed by rasins,plums with a slight alcohol taste at the end.

Drinkability is gd for an 9% beer & it goes down very easy if you allow it to, but i found it wise to
slowly drink these beers & to respect them cos to much to fast can make your head throb lol.

As with all the chimays! they are all great beers & i for one would tell everyone to try these great beers.

CHEERS!

 644 characters

Photo of mikeg67
3.76/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle. Pours hazy brown with a thick, long lasting tanned head. Aroma is of dark fruit, yeast and brown sugar. The body is full and smooth. Taste is dark fruit, brown sugar and Belgium yeast. Long lasting, dry finish. I used to like this brew much more. Must be my taste has changed over the years.

 306 characters

Photo of Lerxst
4.08/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-Pours a murky dark chestnut with a tremendous khaki colored head that has great retention and leaves nice lacing.

S-Bready/caramel malt, grapes, raisins, maybe a slight dark cherry note, brown sugar. Smells good.

T-Slightly sweet dark fruit, bready malt, also an apple like flavor, a hint of alcohol.

M-Medium body, crisp carbonation yet still a bit silky and creamy.

D-Goes down easily and another is certainly a possibility

 431 characters

Photo of imbibehour
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into what else... a Chimay glass. Lord knows I have had plenty of Chimay but it is about time I got around to reviewing it on record.

Chimay Bleu in appearance is first a simple off cream/brow two finger head with bubbles that fall at a slow clip. Body is a nice dark red/brown consistency. Beer leaves a collar throughout the entire glass.

Mild malted feel on the nose with a clean sense of nuttyness. Faint butter as well.

Upon tasting, a fantastic mouthfeel that give way to subtle fruit chews of cherry and other berry notes. A bit prickly though however with the carbonation and on the mid palate and slight malt, but easily handable. Hardly alcohol booming as well for nine abv.

A simple example of the style, good looking, and easily found and affordable makes drinkability very high.

 818 characters

Photo of Blanco
4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

pours a brown/burgundy color with light tan head that quickly dissolves into a light film that lays on top. smell is of dark fruit, coupled with some spice notes. hint of candy/sweetness in the background that I cannot quite identify. while taste is similar to the smell and the dark fruit shines through, the beer is pleasantly dry. the beer livens up the mouth with some zip from the carbonation with a slight alcohol burn in the back of the throat, but pleasant and warming. Drinkability is very high.

Blue is my favorite of Chimay's offering and my first "great" craft brew. A classic, I'm surprised it took me so long to review.

 634 characters

Photo of DaveHS
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2007 magnum shared with friends. Poured into stemless red wine glasses.

A- Cork came out with a loud pop and lots of gunsmoke. Pours a dark brown with burgundy highlights . No head.

S-Musty sweetness, fruity esters, aromas of molasses, candi sugar and raisins.

T/M-4 years has done wonders for this beer. There is still plenty of vibrant, peppery carbonation, and the sweet candied fruit flavors which I found slightly overbearing in younger bottles are muted, resulting in a more subtle flavor profile. I especially enjoyed the body, which was much thinner and concentrated than I remember it fresh.

D-A great beer young, even better with some time.

 663 characters

Photo of wilkowski
3.57/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured an 11.2oz bottle into a Chimay chalice. Served at 54'F per packaging.

A: Rich chestnut body. Beige head vanished too soon leaving only a small ring of foam in the center.

S: Light, soft, yeasty bread. Perhaps banana. Very pleasant.

T: This is too light for the style. Faint dried cherries and banana. Slightly sour on the finish. It opened up a bit after a few minutes and seemed to benefit from pouring the yeast sediment into the glass.

M: Smooth, lush feel. Thinner than I'd like.

D: Hides the 9% very well. I'd enjoy another, but would rather sit back with the Chimay red or white labels. This is a good beer, but not what I want from a BSDA.

 662 characters

Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) from Bières de Chimay
4.28 out of 5 based on 7,782 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.